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Gulliver's adventures to imaginary lands are used to illustrate the foibles and pettiness of mankind. In his first adventure, he finds that the tiny Lilliputians are forever at war with their island neighbors over how to crack open an egg, and they are therefore suspicious and manipulative. By contrast, the giants of Brobdingnag live by "common sense, reason, justice and fair play," but Gulliver is often in danger by being so tiny in their country. In other lands, Gulliver meets all kinds of characters - constant worriers, crazed inventors, preposterous rulers, and some chatty ghosts who give him a history lesson. With each adventure, Gulliver becomes increasingly aware that the beliefs he holds about mankind's achievements may be the opposite of what he had thought. Finally, he meets the horse-like Houyhnhnms (sounds like a horse neighing), "noble creatures ruled entirely by reason," who have no idea of evil. Their country is also inhabited by Yahoos, wild animal-like humans without any redeeming qualities, who steal from each other and squabble endlessly. Gulliver is so taken by the civilized, virtuous Houyhnhnms that he would like to live happily ever after with them, but they can't get over the fact that he really must be a Yahoo, who will only encourage the other Yahoos to revolt against them. He is cast adrift in a small boat and eventually finds himself back in England, where he has to get used to lying, deceit, self-importance, and greed once more. Some of the story elements are a little disturbing, such as his attitudes towards the servant classes, and some of the outrageous behaviors of certain characters verge on disgusting, but this is always used to make a point. Overall, this is a beautifully-made book with much food for thought, for both young and old alike.
Really great adaptation, I'm using this with a lower KS2 class, as the Puffin classic version was very long-winded and the text too old-fashioned for my class. This retains the creativity of Swifts original with some wonderful descriptive language that is accessible to KS2 children, and the illustrations are just fantastic. My class pore over it and beg for more pages to be read each day.